Teamwork over trys? Parents reveal the real reasons for encouraging kids into sports

MILO launches Pitch Your Club Competition to help grassroots sports clubs reach their goals this winter, as its revealed parents still use skills they learned on the field as children
MILO Pitch your Club

According to data released today, just 31% of parents consider mastering a chosen sport as a main motivator for encouraging their child to play in a sports team. Instead, Kiwi parents have revealed that learning soft skills (67%), taking part in physical exercise (60%) and meeting new friends (57%) are the top reasons for encouraging kids to take part.

The research, commissioned by MILO as part of its ongoing commitment to childrens sport, also found that a whopping 94% of parents believe that being a member of a sports club can teach children valuable soft skills. Ability to work within a team came out top as the most commonly identified skill (65%), while learning to overcome obstacles (53%), the importance of physical excerise (53%), as well as learning about commitment and goals (53%) were also listed as skills and benefits of club sport.

While the research revealed a strong association with the perceived benefits of sports clubs and their positive connections in the community, concerningly four in five (80%) felt that more funding should be available.

In a bid to keep fueling Kiwi kids in sport, MILO has teamed up with New Zealand’s sporting greats, Dame Valerie Adams, Scott Barrett and Katrina Rore, to announce MILO Pitch Your Club. The competition offers teams and sports clubs across New Zealand the opportunity to win a share of $50,000 in cash and sports equipment plus the opportunity to feature in a Rebel Sports advert*.

Sports clubs of any size or sporting code, with players of any age can enter themselves, family and friends are encouraged to nominate their favourite club too. The club will go in to win a share of equipment or cash to help them meet their goals, with winners chosen by a judging panel including Dame Valerie, Scott and Katrina.

Findings also uncovered the potential long term value of sports clubs, as 90% of parent respondents feel that skills they learned playing club sport when they were younger are still valuable today. Half still use the teamwork skills (51%) and improved social skills (50%) they developed, whereas two in five believe it improved their listening skills (43%) and helped them become a more gracious winner or loser (39%).

While additional funding may be required on the field, off the field the research reveals parents are some of the biggest investors of club sport, with their time. Kiwi parents value being a part of a sports team so much they are spending an average of 145 hours a year, or six days, supporting their child’s sporting ambitions! The average 2.8hrs a week are spent on everything from driving their children to practice and watching games, to skills practice and washing kit.

Parents also admit to personal benefits they receive from their child’s involvement with club sport, with 43% revealing that it has provided an opportunity for them to bond over a mutual interest. Nearly half (45%) have made friends with other parents through their child’s sporting endeavours and 17% have learnt a new skill through volunteering as manager or coach for their child’s team.

Sporting hero and Pitch Your Club judge, Scott Barrett, commented; “Sport has been in my blood since birth, but I wouldn’t be where I am today without the club I started at. There are so many lifelong skills you learn through being part of a team; it’s definitely taught me a good work ethic, and how to conquer challenging times.

Beginning my rugby career at Coastal Rugby Club in the Taranaki, I saw the effort it takes to run a club and the financial strain that can sometimes come with keeping the club going. That’s why I am rapt to be working with MILO to give back to grassroots clubs and give support to the next generation of athletes!”

MILO spokesperson Fraser Shrimpton commented; “MILO has been fuelling Kiwi kids on and off the field for years and we know what an important role sport plays in the lives of so many. Regardless of what sport, or what level people are playing at, having the opportunity to be a part of a team, get active, have fun, socialize and learn new skills shouldn’t be taken for granted, so we wanted to give a helping hand to the people that make it possible.

“MILO Pitch Your Club is calling on Kiwis to let us know what they need for their sports clubs to be in the running to win cash or new equipment. From the leaky roofs and new goal posts, down to new balls or kit, we want to hear from you!”

MILO Pitch Your Club invites clubs across the country to apply to win equipment or cash to help them meet their goals plus the opportunity to feature in a Rebel Sports advert. Clubs can be from any sporting code, with players of any age.

How to enter: To pitch your club, head to milo.co.nz/milopitch. Entries open 19 April 2021 and will close on 10 June 2021 and deserving clubs contacted from 18 June 2021. Terms and conditions apply*.


*Open to NZ residents 15+ (if under 18, obtain parent/guardian’s consent). Entries judged between 11.06.21-18.06.21. Beneficiary of all prizes will be winner nominated NZ local sports club who is registered with SportsNZ and has been approved by the promoter. Cash prizes include 1 x $10k, 2 x $5k and 10 x $1k plus 10 x $2,000 Rebel Sport Vouchers. Total prize pool up to $50k + money can't buy experience. Promoter is Nestle New Zealand Limited."